This poem is about the natural strengths of my birthplace. One hundred years ago, Detroit was the hub of world-changing ideas. People applied ingenuity and practical thinking to achieve big dreams. Over time, this human energy and spirit was starved by segregation, civil rights abuses, adversarial relationships between management and labor, plus the mind-numbing, physically exhausting effects of brutal assembly line work.

In post-industrial Detroit, sparks of human ingenuity are being reignited. The Motor City is evolving towards The Human City…”Makin’ dreams happen.”


Yeah, we got an epic story,
Now’s the time for new glory,
Makin’ things happen,
Makin’ it in Detroit.

We got the funk,
We got the spunk,
We got the heart, we got the art,
Talkin’ ’bout Detroit.

Home to heroes, mavericks, contrarians,
Nobody’s boring, even librarians.
Say you dine on raccoon carrion?
Not gonna point, call you barbarian.

Fertile ground fuels wild imagination,
Can’t beat our determination,
To be the number one destination,
Humanest City in the nation.

Rising up from the driving machines,
Now see every human being,
Makin’ dreams happen,
Makin’ it in Detroit.

Hands on, heads on, get ‘er done,
Makin’ it in Maker Town.

We got character that can’t be broken,
When destructive words are spoken.

Welcome to the capital of persistence,
Say goodbye to your beige existence.

We got the funk, we got the spunk,
We got the heart, we got the art.

Not tryin’ to be all pretty,
Like an airbrushed city,
Grit keepin’ it real,
Ignites that spirit you feel.

Urban fields, a quirky pace,
Soon be needin’ extra space,
Buildin’ for a humane race,
There’s no place like this place.

Sugar pie honey bunch,
We make it out of every crunch,
Soon eat other city’s lunch,
Got a secret in our punch.

They try to destroy it,
But soul saves Detroit,
Abuse, starve, deny it,
Can’t stop this giant.

Street smarts, car parts,
False starts, tough darts,
The D?…Listen to Smokey:
You really got a hold on me.

-Sharon VanderKaay